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Shadow Play Wins 63rd Little Brown Jug

Published: September 18, 2008 11:00 pm ET

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Canadian-owned Shadow Play and driver David Miller captured the 63rd Little Brown Jug in world record time by winning the second heat in 1:50.1

As 50,976 people watched on intently at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, Miller aimed 3-5 favourite Shadow Play for the front from the inside Post 1 with fellow elim winner Lonestar Legend (Dave Palone) and Art Official (Ron Pierce) in behind. Miller hit the opening panel in a soft :28 before feeling the heat from Art Official and Pierce, who tipped out at the three-eighths and started a bid for the lead first up. With the half in :56.1, the advantage was in the leader's favour.

As the field made their way into the backstretch for the final time, Art Official - who looked mortal for the first time since the Meadowlands Pace - could not keep up with Miller and Shadow Play, who turned on the jets and left everyone in their shadow past the 1:23.4 third station and sprinted home in a blazing :26.2 to capture Jug #63 in 1:50.1, resulting in a two-heat world record time.

Lonestar Legend and Art Official completed the top three, with Santanna Blue Chip finishing fourth.

It was the first Jug win for trainer-owner Ian Moore of Charlottetown, P.E.I., and co-owners RG McGroup Ltd. of Bathurst, N.B. and former NHLer Serge Savard of Saint-Bruno, Que. Ohio native David Miller scored his second Jug victory.

The victory was even more amazing considering the circumstances surrounding Shadow Play's condition going into the final. Trainer Moore stated that the horse could barely walk before the final due to a hoof separation. Both Moore and Miller gave much credit to their blacksmith, who pulled the shoe on the injured hoof and placed a pad of leather between the hoof and the shoe to take some pressure off the crack.

Savard stated that this was one of the greatest feelings of his life, a sentiment echoed by Ron McLellan of RG McGroup.

Shadow Play gives sire The Panderosa his second Jug win in four years - scoring with P Forty Seven in 2005 - and breeder Sam Stoltzfus of Pennsylvania his first Jug win with his mare Matts Filly.

The win for the connections also marks the third straight Jug win for Canadian connections, with the last two Jugs going to Canadian-bred Mr Feelgood (2006) and Canadian-owned and campaigned Tell All (2007).

Even the second and third-place drivers had nothing but praise for the winning connections.

"I had great visions down the backstretch," Dave Palone told Jug Publicity, "but at the last turn David asked his horse, and I was racing for second after that. I don't think anybody was going to beat that horse here today."

"I really feel good for everyone associated with Shadow Play," said Ron Pierce, obviously not coming out of Ohio with the desired result behind Art Official. "My horse was just a little off today. I think it would have taken a special horse to beat Shadow Play today. And I had trouble with my horse in the turns."

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